In May of last year, Jolie published an op-ed in the New York Times titled "My Medical Choice," which detailed her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after finding out she carried a "faulty" BRCA1 gene. The gene increased her chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
"My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman," she wrote. She decided to undergo the preventive procedure, and wrote candidly about her experience in the months after. She also encouraged women to get tested for the gene to learn about their levels of risk. "For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options," she wrote.
In a lengthy interview with EW, Jolie spoke for the first time about her experience since going public with news of her surgery. "I'm very happy I made the decision," Jolie told EW, perThe Huffington Post. "I feel very, very close—much closer—to other women, and women who are going through the same thing. Wherever I go, usually I run into women and we talk about health issues, women's issues, breast cancer, ovarian cancer."
In December 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women who have family members with breast and ovarian cancers get tested for harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.
To learn more about genetic testing, click here.